Running, life, And Parenthood: real talk
I love September. A turn of the seasons, an updated wardrobe, fall racing season - new beginnings (and the humidity finally starts to fade). This year, like other years, I thought about setting some fall goals for myself outside of the ones I set for running. Oh, how delusional I am sometimes! And to be real here, I'm sick of to-do lists and 35 Before 35 lists (or 40 Before 40, or whatever) and seasonal goals. Because I just can't bring myself to get them done at this point. The exhaustion (mental and physical) of parenthood plus full-time (and then some) work is real.
- Monday: OFF
- Track workout - 6.11 miles (12x400 with 200 recovers and WU/CD)
- Strength/conditioning circuit class at Journey
- Wednesday: 20 minutes yoga (sun salutations)
- Thursday: Barre class at Breathe
- Friday: Easy run - 6 miles (no watch)
- Saturday: Bike ride - approximately 8.5 miles
- Sunday: Long run (easy) - 10.08 miles (9:03 pace)
Total miles: Run - 22.19miles / Total runs: 3 / Total core workouts: 2 / Total strength/conditioning workouts: 1 / Total crosstraining: 1
I'm not entirely sure what in the world I did with all of my time before sweet Little B arrived. Scratch that. Yes, I am. I went to grad school, ran a small Etsy shop, volunteered, expanded my social circle, and stayed up past 10 p.m. All in addition to working full time and training for races (although my training now is more intense, I still was working out at least four days a week before).
And now? I work full-time, workout, and attempt to expand my social circle. And I write this blog that usually has more typos than I care to admit. Because that's what my brain can handle at the moment. Adding to the juggling act is my husband traveling for work, so I have to do it all on my own when he's not around. And that means sometimes running at times I'd rather not run, like the hottest part of the day, because that's when there's time to do it.
Don't get me wrong here: I love my son more than anything. He makes me smile, he makes me laugh, he makes me wish I could keep him little forever, and he amazes me on a daily basis with his spunky, silly antics and endless curiosity. But oh, parenthood is tough. So tough. Currently, it's marked by alternating rounds of sleepless nights, and exhausting evenings and weekends chasing around a crazy, screaming (albeit, adorable and wonderful) little monkey after putting in those full-time (plus) work hours.
And all of that, especially the lack of sleep thing, takes it toll, both physically during training and mentally when I'm squeezing all of the brain juice I have into my workday and by the end there's nothing left to do anything more.
Running is my solitude. My reset, even when everything hurts and the exhaustion seems insurmountable. A year ago I never thought I'd be able to train for a marathon by myself. Now I'm looking forward to it. A few hours to myself to settled into the run zone and relax my brain. Yes, I'll take it, thank you.
Sure, running and other workouts require mental power, but it comes from a different place than where I need to draw that work (or side gig/hobby) energy from. It's muscle and grit.
But the struggles this week. Oh, they were so, so real, you guys. And there just wasn't enough grit to make it through to all of my planned workouts. Several nights with an average of four hours of sleep, stressful projects at work, running on legs that I worked hard and then couldn't recover properly because I didn't get enough sleep. So many struggles.
My Tuesday double workout of speed and strength didn't leave me sore like last week (just a little tired), but I got a sports massage on Wednesday, which did leave me sore. Then Thursday I did a barre workout that was tougher than other barre workouts I've done, so by Friday I was just exhausted, spent, and sore.
Friday's run was so miserable right from the start that I turned off my watch within the first quarter mile because I didn't want to be distracted by how slow I was going. Saturday I was supposed to run the 9/11 Heroes Run, but I thought it was smarter to skip the race (and run) altogether, and do a little crosstraining with an easy family bike ride.
But even with all of those struggles, I managed to log two super successful runs plus core and conditioning work. I'm getting stronger (and the weather is getting cooler!). My speedwork session at the track was actually speedy this week, in spite of the 100% humidity that morning. I did 12x400s with my average 400 pace hovering right around 6:45 (along with 200s as recoveries and a warm up and cool down).
Sunday's long run was nothing less than glorious! The temperature was only around 70 degrees and while there was still some humidity in the air (about 75% humidity), it felt awesome. There were points in that run where I looked down and saw a sub-8 pace. There is no need at this point for me to be running my long runs anywhere near that pace (someday though, maybe!), so I slowed down and ended up with several sub-9 minute miles. Had my legs not been so fatigued, that entire run would have easily been sub-9.
And these are my realities. Not having a enough time and energy in the day to focus on some of things I really want to do right now, skipping races, slogging through miserably tired runs, but through it all, still pushing through and seeing progress and improvements. And I get to come home to this cute little mug every night:
And end my days with this view:
So really, it's a pretty good deal most of the time. And someday, I'll have energy to work on some of those other things and find my hobbies again. But probably not this week. Or the next one. Or this September. And that's okay. At least I can run.